This scripture is discussed in a lecture originally given on Gnostic Radio. You can download the audio here: Urim and Thummim
The Truth seems buried, because it brings forth little Fruit; but it is great, and prevaileth, to make all things manifest so far as is possible for men; for in common sense and reason, all agree in mysteries never: so that we may not speak of Science without Knowledge, which breaks the Gates of Brass, and cuts asunder the Bars of Iron, before the eyes of Understanding, that the treasures of darkness may be opened, and the bright and fiery Sword discovered, which turns every way to keep Transgressors out of Paradise.
For if we consider wherein the Celestial and Terrestrial Bodies agree, we shall finde something objective in the inferiour Bodies, whereby they communicate their Celestial Vertue and Influence; which prefident Art doth imitate, to produce a glorious substance of connexed Forms, and of Cleerness, Vertue, and Beauty beyond expression.
The Mathematicians say, The Celestial Influences do hold and govern every natural Body, and by many unities collect a quantity subsisting without shadow: for the real Vertues affect to be specificate; and as living Fire gives life to other things: which central substance of Celestial Vertues or Form of Metals is the Subject of this short Discourse.
That Urim and Thummim, which were given in the Mount, cannot be proved that they are the potential from the Creation, may appear; for they were substances, whole Name and Essences did predicate each other, being convertible terms, the Name and Essence one: the words signify Light and Perfection, Knowledge and Holiness, also Manifestation and Truth, even as Science and Essence make one Perfection. It is likely they were before the Law given; for the Almighty God commanded Noah to make a cleer Light in the Ark, which some take for a Window; others, for the arching and bowing of the upper Deck, a Cubit: but sith the Text saith, Day and night shall no more cease; It seems, it did then cease: and whether this were one or more Windows, is uncertain: but when the Windows of Heaven were opened, and the Air darkned by pouring out Rain, the Sun not giving his Light, but prohibited the generative Spirit of the Creatures in the Ark, what exterior cleerness could be expected?
Therefore some of the Rabbins say, The Hebrew word Zohar, which the Chaldee translate Neher, is not found in the Scripture, but in this place: so that like the word, it seemed to be a rare Light, and that which is generally doubted to be, the Creator commanded Noah to make by Art. Other Hebrew Doctors say, It was a precious Stone hanged in the Ark, which gave light to all living Creatures therein. This the greatest Carbuncle could not do, nor any precious Stone that is only natural.
But the Universal Spirit, fixed in a transparent Body, shines like the Sun in glory, and gives sufficient Light to all the Room to read by: therefore it is most probable, this was the Light that God commanded to make, to give Light to all living Creatures: for it is of perpetual durance.
And whereas Tubal-Cain is said to be a perfect Master of every Artificer in Brass and Iron, which some hold, doth contain the whole and perfect decoction of the Metallick Vertue, wherein the Central Vertue is most abundant, and makes the happy more admired, who walk in the midst of the Stones of Fire; For where there are two things of one Nature, the chief is to be understood: Therefore in the mention of Fires, pure Fire is preferred. (Ezek. 28.16)
The Scarlet Veil in the Temple seemed ever moving, and signified pure Fire, generative and fixed in cleer Bodies, as Urim and Thummim: Although Essences are not without great difficulty made manifest in themselves, yet the cleer Vision thereof, makes the possibility unquestionable; as at Elisha’s Prayer, his Servant saw the Chariot, and Horses of fire, about his Master, which before he saw not; so are they apparent when the invisible is made visible.
Some think, that Urim and Thummim were not Artificial, because they are said in the Text to be put in the brestplate, but not to be made: but this point may be cleared by observing the several kinds of making, as betwixt those things made with hands, and those things that are only made visible by effect: for where natural and habitual Vertue do meet together, the perfection is more absolute by a kinde of new Generation, as the pure Sulphur of Metal, by an inward power doth purge it self by ebulition; not by the first and remote causes, but by the second and neerer, whereof the Philosophers say, The secret of all secrets is of such a disposition, which cannot be perfected with hands; for it is a transmutation of natural things, from one thing to another. Also, it is said, The Artist takes impure Spirits, and by Sublimation, Nature and Art, cleanseth them into bodies pure and fixed: so that the bodily Nature doth eternally predominate: and being more then perfection to other things.
Now that these perfections have their beginnings from two Lights, both the Text and the ancient Philosophers make plain; but ignorance and the matter of the Elements are the Iron Gates, which must be cut in pieces, before the invisible be made visible.
For the natural Urim and Thummim, the Philosophers affirm, what they have seen and done: and that they did nothing save that they did before, and knew: so that a perfect knowledge is especially requisite to make a perfect Art: therefore we are to consider the means to attain this end.
The Lord gave Bezaliel Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge: these are the means: for Gold is dissolved by Wisdom, in Contrition, Assation, and Fire. The end is directed to invent works in Gold, Silver and Brass; which is not to be understood according to the sound of words, but according to the intent of all Distillation, to extract the inward part, and manifest the central vertue: for where the perfection of the matter is glorious, the perfection of the form is more glorious. (Exod. 31.3,4.)
The Sun and Moon are as the Parents of all inferior bodies and things, which come neerest in vertue and temperature, are more excellent: The Sun’s Motion and Vertue doth vivifie all inferior bodies; and those things which come neerest in vertue and temperature, are more excellent: the Sun’s Motion and Vertue doth vivifie all inferior bodies, and the pure form of the terrestrial Sun is said to be all Fire; and therefore doth the celestial Sun communicate most vertue: therefore the incorrupted quality of pure Sulphur being digested in external heat, hath also regal power over all inferior bodies: for the Sun doth infuse his influence into all things; but especially into Gold: and those natural bodies do never shew forth their virtues, till they be made spiritual.
One of the Rabbins saith, They made in the second Temple Urim and Thummim; to the end, they might make up all the eight Ornaments, although they did not inquire by them, because the Holy Ghost was not there; and every Priest that spake not by the Holy ghost, & on whom the divine Majesty resteth not, they enquire not by him: so it is with Sacramental Bread, which hath no signification before Consecration.
But these men had the spirit of Bezaliel, and made these natural, spiritual Bodies: which soveraign Tincture, some say, So purifieth, and causeth the radical humour so to abound, that the Children in the fourth Generation, (yea, as some say, in the tenth) shall perceive the effect of such perfect health of their Ancestors.
Others say, That if they have once finished this Art, and should live a thousand yeers, they might give what they will, and when they will, without danger of diminution; as a man that hath Fire may give to his Neighbour without hurt to himself.
Marcus Vasso said, There was much more mysteries in the Flamines Ceremonies, then they understood. Vesta signified pure Earth, and internal Fire: of which it is said, Vesta is Earth and Fire. Earth undergoeth the name, and so doth Fire:Vesta is both.
Thus is shewn forth in a work done by Fire,
The mighty Vesta, and her pure Attire.
Philosophy is nothing but the study of Wisdom considered in a created Nature, as well subject to sense, as invisible, and consequently material; and Wisdomes central Body is the shadow of Wisdomes central Essence; and the moral Interpretation can never exclude the real effects from ocular demonstration: but where Reason hath experience, Faith hath no merit; and without Faith there is no knowledge of any excellent thing; for the end of Faith is Understanding.
The Rabbins hold every natural beginning to be either matter, or cause of the matter, viz, the four Elements. But here beginnings must be well understood; for there are beginnings of Preparations, and beginnings of Composition, and beginnings of Operation: for the Artist was commanded to devise work in Gold: that is, from the object to the possibility: for if the matter be glorious, the form must be more glorious: and though the spiritual Nature be more operative, yet the bodily Nature must predominate eternally: so that to make the corporal spiritual, and the spiritual corporal, is the whole scope of the intention; yet the spiritual is not first, but the natural: for corruption must put on incorruption, and mortality immortality: for that which is of great durance, and most abundant in vertue doth most excel in Glory and Beauty, and so fittest to make Urim and Thummim: for power and honour are in his Sanctuary.
But because the greatest things are not done by strength, or habit of fingering; as also because the intellect doth so far excel the sense: this is a work of a second intention, and the beginning upon the vertue of Elements; that is a pure, bright and cleer Water of Putrefaction: for the perfection of every Art, (properly so called) requires a new birth, as that which is sowed is not quickned except it die: but here death is taken for mutation, and not for rotting under the clods.
Now therefore we must take the Key of Art, and consider the secret of every thing is the Life thereof: Life is a Vapor, and in Vapor is placed the wonder of Art: whatsoever hath heat, agitating and moving in it self by the internal Transmutation, is said to live: this Life the Artist seeks to destroy, and restore an eternal Life, with Glory and Beauty. This Vapor is called, The vegetable Spirit, because it is of degree of heat with the hottest Vegetable; and being decocted till it shine like brightest Steel, you shall see great and marvelous secrets, not by the separation of Elements by themselves, but by predomination and victory of that pure Fire, which like the Celestial Sun enters not materially; but by help of Elemental Fire, sends forth his influence and impression of form.
Here we must observe difference of perfections: for although ye have now the Fountain of compleat white; yet you are not neer your chief delight, which is the Fountain of Life, and Centre of the Heart, the universal Spirit, which lives in the radical humidity, and doth naturally vivificate, and is the masculine Seed of the Celestial Sun: here is that Rule made good, Except ye sow in Gold, ye do nothing. Therefore we must take heed what we understand by Gold, whereof there are three sorts, Vulgar, Chymical, and Divine; which is therefore so called, because it is a special Gift of God. The Theosophists are perswaded, by exact diet, and by certain form of prayers at certain times, to obtain the Angel of the Sun to be their Guide and Director.
The Philosophers advise to take the like matter above Earth, that Nature hath made under the Earth: Others, to search the most precious treasure from a vile thing: all which is easily agreed, if rightly understood: for in the lines following, the same Author saith, The vile thing is from the Sperm of Gold, cast in the matrix of Mercury by a prime conjunction. Others affirm Azoch and Ignis to be sufficient for this high perfection: the which Azoch among the Germans is Silver; with the Macedonians, Iron; with the Greeks, Mercury; with the Hebrews, Tin; with the Tartars, Brass; with the Arabians, Saturn; and with the Indians, Gold. All which being diverse in Nature, are potential in one composition: and by the duel of Spiritus, the Celestial Gold obtaineith victory over all the rest, and is made (though not with hands) a body shining like the Sun in glory, which is called, Ens omnis privationis expers, or Thummim. This is the Key that made the pure cleer Fountain, and of it was made himself; the fair Woman so loving the red Man, she became one with him, and yielded him all glory; who by his Regal power, and soveraign Quality, raigneth over the fourfold Nature eternally: but if any shall understand either common or Chymical Gold to be the substance of this sacred body, he is much mistaken; for a glorious Spirit will not appear, save in a body of his own kinde.
Although pure Manchet be made of the finest Meal, yet Wheat is not excluded; and so Bread is said to be of the second and neerer causes, rather then the remote: notwithstanding, that which is made by the effect, in a successive course, is as certain as that which is made with hands.
After we fell from unity, we groan under the burden of division, but three makes up the union; first temporary, and afterwards eternally fixed. He that knoweth a thing fully, must know what it was, is, and shall be; so to know the several parts of a successive course, is not a small thing, neither is the honor little in the right use of the Creature.
Air turned into Water by his proper mixture, becomes Wood; and the same Wood, by Water, is turned into a Stone. A Spring in Italy called Clytinus, makes Oxen white that drink it: And the River in Hungary, turns Iron into Copper. What excellency things may attain by habitual vertue, or what power when Nature and Art make one perfection, who is able to express?
If you desire by Art to have a thing of admirable sweetness and odor, you will take a substance of like quality, to exalt into such excellency: the proper quality of Fire and Air is sweetness; it is but appropriate in Earth and Water: what bodies shall we finde, where these are most abundant, to be wrought upon? As the Celestial Bodies give no Tincture, yet they are most abundant in Tincture. Air is cause of Life; Mercury is coacted Air, Ethereal, and truly Homogeneal, which doth after a fort congeal and fix: it is called a crude Gold, and Gold affixed, and mature Mercury. And although the crude Quality be cold and dry; & some hold for the excellency of its temperature, That it is all Fire, or like to it, whereby it is dissolved: however, it is at large proved, those bodies are most abundant in pure Fire and air, whose proper Quality is sweetness. Therefore those are the fittest subjects to make the most precious perfume in the world: and considering, cleerness and brightness is the centre of each thing, and those bodies have both centre and superficies cleer and bright, whensoever they are purified by Art, and the bodies made spiritual, and those Spirits corporated again, they must necessarily be Bodies of greatest or cleerest Light and Perfection: as one compareth a glorified Body to a cleer Lanthorn with a Taper in it, saying, The more a man excels in vertue, the greater or lesser was the Taper. But the work cannot be manifest without the destruction of the exterior form, and the restitution of a better; which is the glorious substances of Urim and Thummim, which in their being, and Physical use, preserves the Temple of Man’s Body incorruptible. Some observe not just difference between Liquification and Solution: but all Corrosives or violent Operations, Nature hates, because there can be no Generation but of like Natures, neither can you have the precious Sperms without Father and Mothers. And although one Vessel is sufficient to perfect the Infant in the Wombe; yet Nature hath provided several breasts to nourish it, and different means to exalt it to the strength of a man. How Gold should be burnt, which the Fire cannot consume, is questionable, but every exaltation of this soveraign Spirit, addes a tenfold vertue and power: then take one part of this Spirit, which is become as insensible as dust, and upon molten Gold it turns all into powder; which being drunk in White wine, openeth the Understanding, encreaseth Wisdom, and strengtheneth the Memory: for here is the Vein of Understanding, Fountain of Wisdom, and River of Knowledge.
The Truth of every thing is said to be his incorrupted Nature; for nothing shall rest eternally visible at the last fire, but that which is of pure vertue and essential purity. Truth and Science is not led by chance or Fortune; but the Spirit of God guides by the Hand of Reason. And it seems the Prophets esteem of these Stones of Fire: some meaning the Stone of Darkness; and as it were, Fire turned up: Others, the Stone of Tin; and Ezekiel, the Stones of Fire attained by Wisdom: which he differeth from the natural precious Stones, as pure Fire from common Fire. Therefore let modesty allow that possible, whereof he understands not the termination and degrees: neither refuse the Waters of Shiloah, because they go slowly; for they that wade in deep Waters, cannot go fast.
To obtain the Treasures of Nature, you must follow Nature onely, who gives not the like time to every Generation; but as the Mare hath ten months, the Elephant three; or as some say, nine yeers, and fifty, before conjunction: Be patient therefore in a work of Nature; for thereunto onely is promised Victory; and the chief errors in Art are haste and dulness. (Isaiah 8.6)
The Regeneration of Man, and the Purification of Metals, have like degrees of Preparation and Operation, to their highest Perfection. The first beginnings of Transmutation or Naturation, is the smallest measure of pure Sulphur, with both Riches and Honor in the left-Hand, and length in the right. In natural Generations the form prepares the matter, yet there are precedent Preparations. The beginnings of Transmutation must be distinguished: some are begun of Preparation, and some are begun of Composition. Beginnings of Preparation, in the well of Tears, doth qualifie the coldness and dullness of the crude disposition, and tame and subdue the fearful quality of swift flying, and changeth the colour of this eternal Liquour, turning the inside outward, and adding heat by the internal Sulphur of the Homogeneal Body, which is by means of changed Water, because Water by Water, can onely be extracted; yet it is excluded in the conclusion: for, though it be a necessary preparation to the alteration following, yet is but the servile and passive, which hath the first operation, being preserved unhurt in weight and purity.
Beginnings of Composition are those inward Operations and Changes, that follow after that scalding deluge, which by mixing with fixed Sulphur doth dissolve the stubbornness of this Urne; and by help of the external heat, the internal Sulphur is excited by Operation, and purifieth the substance but onely to a pale whiteness, more hurtful then profitable to the Body of Man: what these are, shall afterwards appear.
Again, Sulphur must be distinguished: white Sulphur, and living or reviving Sulphur: white Sulphur is of like Operation, and is perfected by restraining, and healeth almost all diseases, and tingeth to white ad infinitum.
By knowledge hereof, even meer natural men have believed the Resurrection, become sober, temperate and patient; not doubting: within the centre of compleat white, rests the red Stone of most delight.
This hath caused men justly to condemn all Cementations, Calcinations, and Citrinations; being enlightened with the glorious object, which is as cleer as a Christal Looking-Glass.
Reviving Sulphur is the secret of secrets, and the glory of the whole world, and onely proper to such whom the Creator hath apted by way of natural disposition; for they do not onely mortifie, but purifie a pure body, quickning it with the same essential form; and are said to make a spiritual Body, because there is no corruption to resist the Spirit; but the bodily Nature, being wholly subject, is, with the Spirit, eternally fixed in a transparent Body shining as the Sun. Therefore the conclusion must be understood of the second, and not of the first: for though a man have never so much white Sulphur, if he have not of this reviving Sulphur, he is as far from the precious Spirit, which hath power over all inferior bodies, as any other: for onely that which is of the Nature of the Sun, shall shine like the Sun in glory.
A Synod of Philosophers adviseth us, in seeking the treasures of Health and Riches, we should shew affection to Justice and Prudence; like Solomon, asking Wisdom, Riches were given to him as advantage. Let us search therefore celestial Vertue, which is the centre of all things; so will it be easie to manifest the soveraign Spirit of Health and Riches: for the vegetable Sulphur, is the first Mover in Nature; and onely the Mercurial Nature hath power of Metallic Life and Death.
Crude Mercury is originally a vapor from cleer Water and Air, of most strong composition coacted; or Air it self, with a Mercurial Spirit by Nature, flying, Etherial and Homogeneal, having the Spirits of heat and cold; and by exterior and interior heats, doth congeal and fix.
Also Gold is a fixed Fire, or mature Mercury, and may be made more volative then Mercury; but onely by divers Mercuries made. Of Mercury is Nature set on work, the fixed Body loosed, the vegetable Sulphur created, and the universal Spirit fixed. For the Authority of the ancient Writers, Divine and Natural Reasons, assure us, this, and no other is the true course to manifest those Lights, wherein the Creator hath heaped up vertue and power.
But it’s objected, The Philosophers do not agree amongst themselves.
Answ. Instruments of divers strings make sweet harmony, if they be well tuned: but their Readers do rather seek to over-rule them, then by painful industry to finde them consent.
Object. Affirm Contraries?
Answ. The Artist his intention is to agree contraries.
Object. They exclude Gold and Mercury from the creation of the Stone.
Answ. Because their crude matter is from the destruction of the exterior form.
Object. They say, The vertue of Elements is their materials.
Answ. Right in respect of their beginnings upon pure bodies.
Object. All their secrets spring from one vile thing common to rich and poor.
Answ. Precious things corrupted, are most vile; and Science is common to rich and poor, and hath much use of Calcination or Dust.
Object. No Metal is required to the making of the Stone.
Answ. As no part of man to the making of man.
Object. One thing, one Glass, one Furnace is sufficient.
Answ. True, when two things of one kinde are apted and conjoyned.
Object. Out of one Root proceeds white and red.
Answ. Even as Male and Female from one Womb.
Object. The Stone is vegetable, animal, and mineral.
Answ. Right: joynt and several it is said to be vegetable, because in the maturation it is multiplied in vertue and quantity: it is said to be animal, because it encreaseth his own kinde; and it’s said to be Mineral, because his original is from Metal or their Mineral. Here we may remember the Bishop of Otrecht, who lost his life for discovering his secret. Why should we prevent the highest distribution, who hath not made knowledge hereditary, but wrapt things in secret, that we might difference things in being, and in being and use? Nature is even jealous of her supremacy, and abhorreth to see the sensible before the intellectual Treasures preferred.
This shews the beginning and end of Art, Lux fata est justo cum rectis animo latitia: Mark what ye sow, for such is your harvest. Light is sown on pure Earth; and some Grain begins to put forth Ears at three joynts, some at four; but the Ear never buds until the joynts be grown. And what vertue this knotting or fixing gives, consider; for by meditation you may see; by feeling you may know; by knowing, ye delight; by delighting, ye adhere; by adhering, ye possess; by possessing, ye enjoy the Truth: that is, the incorrupted use made visible. Therefore take heed how ye value: for,
Part of these things thy minde may prompt thee to,
And part thy better part may teach thee how to do.
The making of Urim and Thummim, and the perfection of the Elixir is aptly compared to the fourfold Creation of Mankinde: Adam from Earth, Eve from Adam, Abel from both, and Jesus Christ from a Virgin: so man called a living stone, produceth that eternally stony and fiery conquering Spirit called the Elixir, from their proper Earth only, their Adam from their Eve; from both their Virgo, from her only the soveraign and universal Spirit, which doth vivifie and preserve all living Creatures, and raiseth the Artist from the dust to fit among Princes.
Life without sin, is wisdom manifest in the flesh: a Body without shadow, is the universal Spirit corporate. Urim and Thummim were holy Signs within the brest-plate to enquire of God in the Temple. Natural Urim and Thummim is a visible quality in a cleer Body, which preserveth the Temple of Man’s Body incorruptible.
Is it not prophetical, that all men shall wisely consider the works of God, to the end they may know how to value them rightly, and to make just difference between corporal and spiritual things, and corporate Spirits? for although Spirits possess no place, yet they fail not to fill every part, by contact of their vertue, and in the use alters both quality and quantity: the perfect and distinct knowledge whereof, doth necessarily manifest the things sought after by the proper and appropriate qualities; and from the causes to the effect, openeth the internal Beauty of a true and natural Essence, as plainly, as by seeing that ye see; and also sheweth the terminate, privative and perfect end of every particular act: which is the richest of intellectual Treasures, because Science and Essence are one; and where the several works, and successive are apparent, the time need not be limited (like the men of Bethulia,) for onely at Elisha his Prayer, his Servants eyes were opened to see invisible things, which all that rise to glory shall do. (Psal. 64.9. Psal. 111.8.)
It was held of old, Nothing deserves the love of an honest man, save the internal Beauty: Therefore they held Love or natural Affection to be the first cause or motion: like as the heat and vertue of the Sun, and of the whole Heavens, hath power in all things created under Heaven, and by their Influence and Radiation, all things encrease, grow, live and are conserved; and by their recess, they mourn and wither, fall and droop; yet they do not necessitate any, all their force being most in imperfect things; for a body of equal temper receives little alteration from the Constellations, because the Earth received vertue before the Heavens were adorned with Sun, Moon and Stars: Therefore that is to be distinguished in Reason: so is distant in place, and different things in being, and in being and use: for change of quality brought confusion, and a better change Renovation.
Historians affirm, The River Nilus vaporeth not, by reason of the long decoction under the Sun, yet is the Water most wholesom and Medicinable; and the Neighbor earth begins to encrease in weight the seventeenth of June, (and not before) even then when the River begins to rise: which sympathy of the distant Water and Earth, by the power of Heaven, is not against Nature, although beyond ordinary reach. Therefore for a leading cast, let us observe the concord of Metallic Bodies; which, like the first Male and Female, have not several beginnings, but are all from a Sulphurous vapor, which, by help of Influence, Instrument, Digestion, and Masculine and Feminine vertue, connexing proper and appropriate qualities, they obtain their perfection by the power of God’s Ordinance: yet as every Earth yields not like Metal, so every Metal yields not like central vertue: Therefore according to that creating command, every thing should encrease in its proper kinde, (not in diverse) and time makes the number infinite.
The Ancients reading the great Volume of the Book of Nature, finde no abridgement to assimilate the Majesty of Nature, save Man and the Stone; both which are called, Living Stones: whole original Mortification, Purification, and difficult Exaltation, are of infinite vertue. Then observe also a Celestial and Terrestrial Sun, which they parallel with Man, which because they onely are capable of true temper, which is certainly possible, although seldom enjoyed.
But to gain this precious Treasure of Life and Health, we must make sufficient provision, like men that do deal with great persons; for Gold is Lord of Stones, and noblest of Metals; and by his proper Regiment, doth multiply himself infinitely. Therefore Geber in his Book of Deundation, saith, In Gold are ten parts heat, ten parts humidity, ten parts siccity: which triple perfection makes an absolute unity, Body, Soul, and Spirit, being eternally vivified, because unity is a generical quality of all that is one, and is an effect of the Form which doth produce it: for of all kinde of Governments, ten is the most perfect: and for the natural substance, no composition is like to Gold; for it is a most perfect temper, and equal mixion; the miracle of Nature, a Celestial Star, a Terrestrial Sun, the Fountain of Life, the Centre of the Heart, the secret vertue of all Celestial and Terrestrial Bodies, the Masculine and Universal Seed, first and most powerful of the Sulphurous Nature, the great Secret of the Almighty Creator. It hath most Form and Entity; so most Vertue and Operation: in it the Elements are elementized. It is called Sulphur, and Sulphur-Fire: yea, it is said to be all Fire, or like to that in which it is dissolved. And as Light is the Centre of Heaven, and Soul of the World, so Brightness is the Centre, and Celestial Vertue, the Form of Gold; whose admired mixion, nothing meerly natural can dissolve, nor any thing artificial, except it agree with it in matter and form, and do remain with it in the recongealation. This vertual Influence, enters potentially, and dwells in the radical humidity; and no other thing, whether from Heaven or Earth, doth nourish the Heart: yet it is not visible, before vertue be matched; for there is best concord, where it is most abundant: but whither shall we mount to match this miracle of Nature?
The Historians tell us of an eternal Liquor of most strong Coaction, rained down from Heaven: here is like descent: she is called Hyperion, or Daughter of the Sun, a Body of like weight and vertue with Gold; fair, cleer, quick, only coacted and brought from the Empire of humidity, to suit the person, which in her crude Nature shews strong Affection, and turns the noblest of Metals into her own colour. Therefore the Artist studies how to disponsate these two.
And first denudateth the Lady of her frosty Garments, that she may have the first activity, and liquefie her fettered Lord: then are they both in the power of Art to better.
It is objected, This Heaven-born Hermodactylus or Hydromel, is of a Nature so obstinate and incorrect, she will by no means recerve the best impression.
Consider, Her names signifie mixt matter of contrary quality, therefore may be separated: and although her original obscure condition, because it is unknown by the innate affections and subsistance; for it is an Airy Body, or air itself with Mercurial Spirit, subsisting of internal heat, and external cold. Others say, It is composed of the Spirit of the World, corporate in the womb of the Earth, and apt to receive the qualities and properties of all natural things, as wax impression; and being composed of Spirits, the weight is of greater wonder. Others say, It is a crude Sperm not sufficiently decocted, (yet not to be profaned.) Others call it an immature Gold, which kills it self, and the Father and the Mother, to bring forth a pure Infant: by her they overcome the Fire: she is the perfection of the Universal Medicine: what Conformity, what Similitude, what Identity she holds with the Metallic Urne, being the original matter aed substance thereof, and may be coagulated to the equal temper of Gold, is as the whiteness in Snow. Therefore the Ancients magnifie the most Blessed, who created such a substance, and gave it such properties as no other thing in Nature doth possess; yet we see it is a vitious matter, which hath superfluous Humidity, proper and appropriate Qualities, separable and inseparable Accidents. Therefore the separable may be removed: to which end, she is included in a Well of Tears, that the Watriness may be vapored, or through long Decoction by Driness vanquished.
Then doth it, as it were, congeal, and fix, and become more apt for durance and extension: for whatsoever is contrary to the natural, doth debilitate; and like by his like, is nourished: but heat is contrary to cold, and the natural property of scalding heat, is to weaken and dry. The fresh Water adds power and heat: heat augmented becomes Fire; and Time turns strength to Corruption.
This glutinous substance hath natural heat, from which is the Life and Death of the Elements.
Therefore as common Fire bringeth all things to his own Nature, so the external working upon the internal heat, it doth necessarily obtain victory.
Therefore if you can believe that heat and driness shall overcome cold and moisture, that lineary and successive course, hidden to all the World, is open to you.
Therefore, as Nature delights in Concord, so the Lovers and Searchers into Natures Work, must be of constant mindes, and Gideon-like resolve to race the City Meroz, not refusing to assist the publick good, and then the Marriage: for the Princess never unmasks her Virgin-Beauty, except to him that hath skill and power to espouse her in a bed of Love; which none can do, before the despoliation of the exterior form: but the Obstacles removed, and Nature set on work, the external Decree doth necessitate the effect: for being now warm, and blyth, and apt for new Generation, and pounded with her Lord, grated to Dust, his unnatural softness deceives the sense, and they passionately condole each others Exile, and in their imbraces fall in a sound, until their dissolved Bodies shew corruption; and the more pure, being corrupted, are more vile.
The Artist finding them out of their Indian Paradise, corrects their central virtue; and raising them from the Earth, leads them the thorny path to threefold happiness, and by fiery trial, purifieth the Quantity, and changeth the Quality, and so brings them to perfect rest, whereby they have power over the bodies of Men and Metals, and are crowned in token of their dignity and boundless Territories.
Now considering the rarity of true Knowledge, the Honor and Dignity of things desired; what Spirit is so ignoble to think much either of Cost or Time, when that which is sought is of all Terrestrial Treasure most excellent!